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Violence in Yemen; Libyan Civil War; Syria's 'Child Martyr'

Aired May 31, 2011 - 08:00:00   ET


KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: Welcome to NEWS STREAM, where news and technology meet.

I'm Kristie Lu Stout, in Hong Kong.

More violence in the streets of Taiz as the Yemeni president also faces a major challenge to his power in Yemen's capital, Sanaa.

Now, reports say the U.S. military consider computer hack attacks from other countries as an act of war.

And crisis? What crisis? Well, Sepp Blatter remains defiant as calls grow to delay FIFA's presidential election.

In Yemen, we are hearing reports that three people have been killed in Taiz. Now, the city has been a center of protests against President Ali Abdullah Saleh, and one youth leader says Republican Guards opened fire on demonstrators, injuring 26 people.

Hundreds of loud explosions have been heard in the capital, where a powerful tribal group has been battling government forces. Now, they rose up against President Saleh after he backed out of a regionally brokered transition plan earlier this month.

Now, the United States says the crackdown in Taiz is unprovoked and unjustified. And the United Nations says that more than 50 people have been killed there since Sunday.

Mohammed Jamjoom joins us now from CNN Abu Dhabi.

Mohammed, a lot to get to, but first, any more information on Taiz and the brutal violence there?

MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, all the accounts we're hearing from eyewitnesses and activists, anti-government demonstrators on the ground in Taiz, say that it's been another horrifying day for them. They say that every time they try to find another rallying point, another gathering point in that city for their peaceful movement, their revolutionary movement, that they are fired upon by members of the security forces there and thugs that are allied with the government. That's according to the eyewitnesses that are there.

We hear this morning, as you mentioned, that at least three people were killed in renewed clashes, at least 26 injured. The medical officials we're speaking with in Taiz are expecting those casualty figures to rise throughout the day.

The real concern right now, as I said, thousands of anti-government demonstrators that have been coming out into the streets day after day after day in Taiz want to find a place where they can gather, where they can march through the city. They say every time they try to do so, they are fired upon from rooftops, from people surrounding them. The security forces, quick to pounce on them and their movement, and they're not letting them gather and try to march through the streets of that city -- Kristie.

STOUT: And elsewhere in Yemen, in Sanaa, what are residents telling you about the clashes there in the capital?

JAMJOOM: Well, Kristie, during the overnight hours last night, we were talking to many residents there. They were saying that it was extremely worrying that the violence had ratcheted up to a point that was unprecedented in the past week.

Now, in the last several hours, we've spoken to many people who have said that they've heard hundreds of explosions. They've had RPG attacks, intermittent gunfire. This is over the last seven to 10 hours.

They say it's getting worse. They say they're seeing thick black plumes of smoke throughout the city. They're seeing tanks. They're seeing armed tribesmen fighting with security forces. The situation there really deteriorating.

This all coming on the heels of just a couple of days ago, we were told by tribal chiefs and tribal sources that mediation was ongoing between the al- Hashid family, which is the largest tribe and most powerful one in Yemen, and President Ali Abdullah Saleh. They hoped to achieve some sort of cease-fire. By all accounts, the people we're speaking with there today, they say no cease-fire has not been reached, fighting is continuing, and they're afraid it's going to keep continuing throughout the day -- Kristie.

STOUT: There's violence across the country, the situation is deteriorating. So what is next for the protest movement? Are the demonstrators in Yemen too intimidated at this point to march?

JAMJOOM: Well, Kristie, we spoke to several demonstrators that are in Sanaa, that they're in Chain (ph) Square. That's the epicenter of the anti-government movement in the capital. That's where people have been coming out, putting up tents, having sit-ins for the past several months.

They're telling us that they feel very intimidated right now. They're very afraid because they hear these clashes that have been ongoing in Sanaa since last night. They know the violence is increasing.

They want to march. They want to make their point. They're frustrated that these clashes seem to be undermining their peaceful revolution. They don't want civil war to break out.

They want to continue their peaceful revolution. They want to get rid of the president there through peaceful means. So they're upset that these clashes are going on. But right now, as much as they want to march, they're saying they're afraid to do so because they're afraid they'll meet with the same fate as their counterparts in Taiz who have been killed over the past few days.

Many of the people in Taiz saying they've been fired upon by government forces every time they try to gather, every time they try to march through the streets. And the people in Sanaa saying they're afraid that that will happen to them as well -- Kristie.

STOUT: Mohammed Jamjoom, live for us from Abu Dhabi.

Thank you.

Now, two large explosions rocked the Libyan capital of Tripoli overnight. Libyan government officials says one of the airstrikes targeted a construction site outside the city center.

And hour earlier, the South African president, Jacob Zuma, held cease-fire talks with Moammar Gadhafi. Mr. Zuma is there on behalf of the African Union. He says that the Libyan leader is ready to accept a cease-fire, but the AU is not pressing Gadhafi to step down, and that is the rebels' key demand.

Our Nima Elbagir is on the ground in Tripoli. She joins me now with the latest.

Nima, what, if anything, has Mr. Zuma accomplished there in Libya?

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Kristie, the African Union has been very insistent that it must take the lead on these talks. But when the rest of the world, when the rest of the international community says that Colonel Gadhafi has lost his legitimacy, then the African Union position starts to look a little bit tenuous as a potential credible mediator, bearing in mind that this is the organization that mediated the peace talks in Zimbabwe, and Robert Mugabe is still in power there.

So you can appreciate that people were already a little bit worried about what could be achieved. And it turns out now that they were worried, rightly so, because President Zuma has gotten on the plane with nothing more than Colonel Gadhafi had already agreed to back in April, mainly that there will be political reforms and political dialogue, but overseen by Colonel Gadhafi himself -- Kristie.

STOUT: Now, Gadhafi agreed to a cease-fire but won't step down. The rebels won't accept that. So what will happen next? Will NATO intensify its military campaign?

ELBAGIR: Well, even as you said, just hours after President Zuma got on his plane, it was business as usual here. And all this, of course, comes in the weeks that we're hearing reports that the U.K. and France will be deploying attack helicopters which will greatly intensify the air bombardment here in Tripoli. And the rebels have said not only are they rejecting Gadhafi's cease-fire, but they are announcing that they feel that his military position has been greatly weakened by this defection yesterday of eight Libyan generals, part of a contingency of 120 military officials.

So they say they're feeling confident enough with the deployment of these attack helicopters to actually try to push for the capital -- Kristie.

STOUT: And also, what is Jacob Zuma saying about the South African photojournalist who was missing but now confirmed dead in Libya?

ELBAGIR: This is a real issue for Jacob Zuma, and many believe that it was one of the reasons that he wasn't really able because of the domestic unhappiness with this issue in South Africa, wasn't able to quite offer Colonel Gadhafi the soft landing that people had been expecting. We understand that he gave Colonel Gadhafi a document from the photographer's family asking for the safe return of Anton Hammer's remains.

This photographer, of course, for a while we had been hearing that he had never ever been in Libyan custody. But when the journalists who were with him were released, once they crossed the border into Tunisia, they said they felt safe enough to say that they actually witnessed his death at the hands of Colonel Gadhafi's loyalist supporters -- Kristie.

STOUT: Nima Elbagir, joining us live from Tripoli.

Thank you.

Now, outside Misrata, a rebel field hospital is providing basic treatment for wounded fighters and increasing their chances of making it alive to the main hospital.

Our Ben Wedeman reports on the life-saving work of frontline doctors just out of school.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The first wave of casualties from the front arrives at the Dafniya Field Hospital. There's no time here to waste.

Doctors and medics quickly try to stabilize the wounded, stop the bleeding, dress the injuries. Their work, rushed and confusing as it may seem, will determine whether these fighters arrive at the hospital in Misrata dead or alive.

Four ambulances brought six men from the front at 2:30 in the afternoon. Two were in critical condition. One of them will probably have to have both legs amputated below the knee. Three were lightly wounded. The sixth, dead on arrival.

This area, just a half-hour's drive from Misrata, is regularly bombarded by the Libyan army, using mortars, rockets and artillery. When the job is done they scribble out a rough description of the patient's condition and load them into ambulances.



WEDEMAN: Despite the groans of pain, their chances of surviving are far better now than they were just a few minutes ago.

The doctors here are mostly young, but what they lack in years they've gained in experience. Twenty-six-year-old Dr. Mohammed Suasi (ph) graduated from medical school just one year ago. "We do everything we can," he says, "even if it's basic, to save their lives."

After the wounded are taken away, Dr. Mohammed al-Ajnaf sits alone with his thoughts. Until just a few months ago, neither he nor any of his colleagues had dealt with the wounds of war. A Grad missile barely missed the clinic just minutes before the wounded arrived.

DR. MOHAMMED AL-AJNAF, DAFNIYA FIELD HOSPITAL: They destroyed everything. No electricity, no water, so nothing. We have nothing here in this area. No families in this area. But they attack everything.

We have also two ambulances today completely destroyed, yes. By mortars, yes.

WEDEMAN (on camera): And were there people inside?


WEDEMAN (voice-over): Now they rest, but probably not for long.

(on camera): From the time the casualties were brought here to the time they were taken away it wasn't very long. It was 10, maybe 15 minutes of intense work. And now, of course, the doctors and the medics are waiting for the next wave.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Dafniya, Libya.


STOUT: Activists in Syria say that children are not being spared in the government's brutal crackdown on protesters, and they're pointing to the horrifying accounts of one 13-year-old boy. Now, activists say his tortured body was returned to his family one month after he was separated from his father at the chaos of a protest.

Arwa Damon is following this story from Beirut, and she joins us now.

And Arwa, video is circulating of the corpse of this tortured boy, and the details are horrifying.

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Kristie. The details most certainly are, as is the video itself.

In fact, much of it is too graphic for broadcast, but the video does show young 13-year-old Hamza's bloated face. It's purple. It shows multiple bruises along his legs. It shows gunshot wounds to his torso, a shot through his elbow, and then perhaps most shocking of all, it shows that his genitals were mutilated.

Now, CNN cannot independently verify the account of what happened to Hamza, nor can we independently verify the authenticity of the video. But we did speak with a prominent Syrian activist, Razan Zetuneh (ph), who is inside Syria, and she said that she does believe that the account and video themselves are true.

She believes that the regime deliberately released the boy's body to send a message. The message being that absolutely no one would be spared, not even children, that the regime had no red lines whatsoever.

This meant to keep people off the streets. What we have seen in fact has been quite the opposite effect.

There were numerous demonstrations that erupted in support of Hamza. We even saw children risking the same fate, going (AUDIO GAP). And a Facebook page that was set up in his name had more than 60,000 members as of earlier today -- Kristie.

STOUT: So he has turned into a symbol of the protests there in Syria. And the Syrian uprising was started by the abuse of children, the arrest of children, back in March. Is that right?

DAMON: That's right, Kristie. And those arrests took place in the southern city of Daraa. Children sprayed graffiti on the walls. A number of them were rounded up.

Residents in that area, family members, went out and demonstrated, demanding that the children be released. And it is from that that we then saw the demonstrations spreading pretty much to the entire country, resulting in the situation that we have right now.

Throughout all of this, activists are saying though that children have continuously and, in many cases, deliberately been targeted. They point to numerous examples. For example, an 11-year-old boy who they allege was shot while he was inside his home.

We've seen numerous videos emerging of children lying wounded in the streets, people trying to rescue them under a hail of gunfire. And this is exactly why activists and many human rights organizations are now calling on the United Nations to try Syria, to put it forward to the International Criminal Court. They are saying that there has to be some sort of a way to bring about an end to these atrocities. And it seems at this stage, that negotiating with the Assad regime is just not an option -- Kristie.

STOUT: More evidence of a brutal crackdown.

Arwa Damon, on the story for us.

Thank you very much indeed, Arwa.

Now, in Egypt, a senior general now admits that some female protesters were subjected to so-called virginity checks. Now, previously, authorities had denied those allegations.

Now, they were first published by Amnesty International after this crackdown on March the 9th. And the general tells CNN the 17 women were arrested and forced to submit to these invasive tests. And he defended the practice, saying it was done so the women could not claim that they were raped by Egyptian authorities.

One woman told us what she went through.


SALWA HOSSEINI, ALLEGED VICTIM (through translator): They made us sign statements declaring whether or not we are virgins. During the test, no one was standing except for a woman and a male doctor. Six soldiers were standing behind us and watching the back side of the bed. I think they were where to be witnesses.


STOUT: Now, Salwa Hosseini says she only submitted to the test because authorities threatened to shock her with a stun gun.

Now, media reports say that judges have rejected an appeal by Ratko Mladic against extradition to The Hague. Now, his lawyer had argued that Mladic was too ill to face war crimes charges at the U.N. tribunal, and it is still unclear when the transfer could happen. But we could learn more when Serbia's justice minister holds a news conference.

Now, Mladic commanded the Bosnian Serb army and is accused of orchestrating the massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica in 1995.

Now, still ahead here on NEWS STREAM, hackers, beware. Now, there are reports that the U.S. is declaring some forms of cyber sabotage an act of war.

And despite a growing corruption scandal, FIFA's head asks, what crisis? And we'll bring you highlights from the news conference that left some wondering if Sepp Blatter is in denial.

And a Mexican teacher turns to storytelling to save her kids when a gun battle breaks out. Her heroic story and more coming up.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now, after a string of high-profile hackings, the U.S. Pentagon now says that cyber-attacks from foreign countries can be declared acts of war. That's according to "The Wall Street Journal."

Chris Lawrence is CNN's Pentagon correspondent. He joins us now live from the Pentagon in Washington.

And Chris, the Pentagon apparently saying that a cyber-attack can be an act of war. Explain the thinking behind this.


What the Journal is reporting is that the Pentagon is about to come out with a new report that will basically lay out a new policy that would pretty much -- in simple terms, it would equate what we thought of during George W. Bush's presidency in which he said countries that harbor and accept terrorists that can then carry out attacks around the world, those countries can then be targeted because of the actions of those terrorists. You know, what this is saying is that a cyber-attack launch from a country could have the same devastating effect as a conventional weapon.

In other words, if a cyber-attack were to shut down a nuclear reactor and cause a meltdown, it would be almost the same as a missile hitting that nuclear reactor. If the pipelines were shut down, it would be the same as a naval blockade. And so what the U.S. is doing is basically now equating some forms of cyber-attack with the acts of what we think of as more conventional war.

STOUT: And Chris, what kinds of cyber-attacks have we already seen committed?

LAWRENCE: Well, just about a week ago, Lockheed Martin, one of the leading defense contractors in the world, admits that it was a victim of what it calls a tenacious hack on its systems. A lot of people here in the U.S. consider that a matter of national security with the types of weapons that Lockheed works on.

We've seen Google hacked. You know, people's personal information taken out of there. The Pentagon itself was the victim of a computer hack about three years ago, in 2008.

And probably the most I think famous was this Stuxnet virus that basically set back Iran's nuclear program. It got into their computer systems and disrupted Iran's nuclear program.

But really, you know, that virus also hit Indonesia, India, Pakistan, even here in the U.S. So this is a global problem now.

STOUT: All right.

Chris Lawrence, joining us live from the Pentagon.

Thank you.

Now, let's get more on that hack at Lockheed Martin. Now, the aerospace giant says that customer data, including that at the Pentagon, is safe after its network was breached.

And CNN's Lisa Sylvester has the latest.


LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Lockheed Martin describes the attack as significant and tenacious. Hackers tried to access information from the defense contractor's information systems network. Lockheed says it detected the intrusion almost immediately and was able to thwart the attack.

Larry Clinton is with the Internet Security Alliance, a multi-sector trade association specializing in cyber security. He says these are no amateurs.

LARRY CLINTON, INTERNET SECURITY ALLIANCE: -- which are generally well- funded, very sophisticated. These are not kids in basements. They are highly organized. Often, they are affiliated with state actors.

SYLVESTER: The Lockheed intrusion is only the latest of a string of attacks by hackers. Sony Corporation had a significant security breach last month that affected millions of PlayStation users, and hackers this weekend managed to compromise the PBS Web site hosting a phony story claiming rapper Tupac Shakur was still alive.

Cyber security experts say sometimes the goal is simply to disrupt a commercial or government entity. Other times, it's to get information.

SAMI SAYDJARI, CYBER DEFENSE AGENCY: They're interested in everything. They're interested in defense secrets. They're interested in industrial secrets to give them a competitive advantage. So, any kind of secret that we might have of value, adversaries or potential adversaries are interested in getting that information from the United States.

SYLVESTER: Security analysts point to China and Russia as the leading countries engaging in cyber-attacks against the United States.

Hemu Nigam says the Obama White House has done more than previous administrations, but it's still not enough.

HEMU NIGAM, FOUNDER, SSP BLUE: What makes it really dangerous is if you get into a system that has secrets, that's no different than breaking into the front door, the side door. The only difference is, you can be sitting inside a country that is 2,000 miles away without ever stepping outside that room and entering the boundaries of the United States.


STOUT: Well, still ahead here on NEWS STREAM, a gunfight rages outside the classroom as the teacher turns to a TV show dinosaur, Barney, to keep her kids safe. Her heroic story, next.


STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong, you are back watching NEWS STREAM.

Now, a suspect has been arrested in the 2006 killing of journalist Anna Politkovskaya. Now, Interfax reports that Rustam Makhmudov was arrested in Chechnya.

Now, Anna Politkovskaya was an anti-Kremlin reporter who won international prizes for her work. She was shot dead in her apartment building in 2006 in a crime that shocked the world.

Now, a lawyer for Makhmudov says he is innocent.

Now, it is an incredible and horrifying story out of Mexico. A kindergarten teacher is being hailed as a hero for protecting her students as a gunfight breaks out just beyond her classroom.

Nick Valencia has more.


NICK VALENCIA, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Listen closely as this story unfolds.



VALENCIA: This is the scene at a kindergarten school in Monterrey, Mexico, on Friday afternoon. A teacher calmly instructs her students to take cover and sings songs while suspected cartel members exchange gunfire outside of her classroom.

The teacher, who is identified only as "Martha," tells the students to put their faces on the floor, that nothing is going to happen. As gunfire rages outside the classroom, the teacher asks the kids to sing along to a song by Barney the friendly dinosaur while people were executed outside of the school. None of the children in the classroom was injured.

The teacher later posted the video on YouTube. It's received more than a million hits. City officials honored her on Monday.

Nick Valencia, CNN, Atlanta.


STOUT: A brave teacher, but a horrifying environment to be a child.

Now, still to come here on NEWS STREAM, one of Sepp Blatter's more bizarre news conferences where, it's safe to say, he got a little hot under the collar.

And we've got some incredible footage from Australia, where three giant waterspouts made a beeline for the coast.


STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching NEWS STREAM, and these are your world headlines.

Now three people are dead and nearly 30 injured following clashes in Yemen's southern city of Ta'izz. And that is according to sources. The city is now a flashpoint for anti-government protests. And there was also fighting in the capital Sanaa between government forces and supporters of a powerful tribe.

Now Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is ready to agree to a cease-fire as laid out by the African Union, that's according from South African president Jacob Zuma. He met with Colonel Gadhafi on Monday in a bid to bring peace to Libya. But with Gadhafi refusing to step down and NATO continuing to shell Tripoli, little appears to have changed.

Now 75 more bodies have been recovered from the wreckage of an Air France plane that crashed off Brazil in 2009. Now a leader of a French victim's association tells CNN that those remains have not yet been identified. Air France flight 447 crashed into the Atlantic two years ago killing all 228 people on board.

Former FIFA presidential candidate Qatari Mohammed bin Hammam is appealing his suspension ahead of Wednesday's vote. Now as it stand, current chief Sepp Blatter will stand uncontested, but bin Hammam hopes his hearing will be held today and he can be reinstated in the race.

Now crisis, what crisis? Well, according to FIFA president Sepp Blatter world football's governing body is only experiencing a couple of difficulties. Now he was in a jovial mood at a rather bizarre news conference that was hostile and comical in equal measure. Now we put some of the best parts together just for you.


OWEN WYATT, REUTERS: Mr. Blatter, Owen Wyatt from Reuters. Last night your long-term ally Mr. Jack Warner told me that you should be stopped. Can you give us some reaction to that statement?

SEPP BLATTER, FIFA PRESIDENT: No? Stopped in what -- no, no reaction.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The media today (inaudible) what happened in the (inaudible) is a cri (ph). Is it cris (ph)?

BLATTER: Crisis?


BLATTER: What is a crisis? If somebody (inaudible) what the -- describe to me what there is a crisis? And I would answer. Football is not in a crisis. Listen gentlemen, I accepted to have a press conference with you alone here. I am -- I respect you. Please respect me. And please respect the procedure of the press conference. And if you ask for a question, then ask for the mic. And don't intervene. We are not in a bazaar here. We're in the FIFA house.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Critics claims that FIFA's reputation is at its lowest ever. How and why have you let this happen on your watch?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a press conference, and I thought it's for asking questions. And there is so many more people here which want to ask questions. And it's not about respect, because this is respected.

BLATTER: Yeah, but I have said that I have a time at your disposal. I have answered the questions. And now I thank you for your attendance. I thank you for your interest. And we are looking forward to tomorrow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have -- you've said that this is about the ethics committee and that it's about ethics and people and now...

BLATTER: (inaudible)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The questions have been asked. And the questions have been answered. Thank you for....

BLATTER: I will not role into discussions (inaudible) with people that like to create problems. I just want to tell you one thing. You can laugh, that's also an attitude, elegance is also an attitude and respect is also an attitude.

Sure. I think something -- I have learned this in my life. Also alive as a journalist. I'm still a member of (inaudible). And when I was in a press conference and it was said now it is finished, then I said thank you.


STOUT: Sepp Blatter defiant in that news conference. But what might worry the FIFA president is the reaction from sponsors. Now FIFA has multiple levels of sponsorship for its various competitions, but at the very top are the FIFA partners. And they are these six companies -- Adidas, Coca-Cola, Emirates, Hyundai and Kia Motors, Sony, and Visa. And four of them are speaking out.

Now Adidas is saying this now, "that it will be an official sponsor of FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil. And having said that the negative tenor of the public debate around FIFA at the moment is neither good for football nor for FIFA and its partners."

Now Coca-Cola is also weighing in with this, saying "the current allegations being raised are distressing and bad for the sport. We have every expectation that FIFA will resolve this situation in an expedient and thorough manner."

Now Emirates is saying this, that it, "like all football fans around the world is disappointed with the issues that are currently surrounding the administration of the sport. And, quote, we hope that these issues will be resolved as soon as possible and the outcome will be in the interest of the game and sport in general."

And finally we have this reaction just in from Visa saying this, "now the currently situation is clearly not good for the game. And we ask that FIFA take all necessary steps to resolve the concerns that have been raised."

Now with more on this and what the next few hours could hold for FIFA Pedro Pinto joins us now live from Zurich. And Pedro, we have seen pressure from the media, from sponsors, now I understand that English Football Association has spoken out?

PEDRO PINTO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: It has as well. And most of the criticism about FIFA (inaudible) ever since the -- even before the World Cup host announcement last year has come from the United Kingdom.

I'll tell you what the chairman of the English Football association said. Of course, the English FA are abstaining from the vote in the presidential election on Wednesday. And he has urged other national associations to abstain from the vote or to push for a postponement. That is David Bernstein, the chairman of the English Football Association.

He's not the only one that has been outraged by what has happened over the last few days here in Zurich. We've had a few football officials from the Asian Confederations reportedly leave in protest of the treatment of Mohammed bin Hammam ever since he was suspended.

So, Kristie, there's no doubt that there is a movement against having the re-election on Wednesday. But for that to be postponed, the three-quarters majority of the general assembly, 208 member associations, still have to vote for that to happen. And what we think from what we've been gathering here is that that's still not going to happen and the election will take place with Sepp Blatter effectively being involved in a coronation for a fourth term as FIFA president.

STOUT: And Pedro, let's go back to that incredible press conference by Sepp Blatter. You were there in the room, describe the atmosphere for us.

PINTO: It was probably the most surreal press conference I have ever attended. And I really think that Sepp Blatter has got the whole tone of his message wrong. He seemed to be detached from the gravity of the situation.

Right when he came in, when he was smiling. And said it was great to see the media. And he made a couple of joking references to some of the questions asked by the journalists that have traveled from all over the world to be present in this press conference, it just was something that is hard to explain, because it seemed he was in a parallel universe where, yes he regretted that all these allegations were surrounding FIFA.

Yes, he knew the image of the world football governing body had taken a hit, but he really didn't see the need to ask for any kind of reform or any serious change before this election or at any time. He just said this is something the FIFA family will take care of, these are some minor difficulties. And he denied there was a crisis.

So definitely there was an elephant in the room and Sepp Blatter failed to see it.

STOUT: Pedro Pinto joining us live from Zurich describing that FIFA press conference as surreal.

Now let's get more reaction to these events at FIFA. Alex Thomas joins us now live from London -- Alex.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, as well of course as the elephant in the room as Pedro so quaintly put it that Sepp Blatter couldn't quite see, there are also the other allegations that FIFA has had to deal with. The ethics committee hearing on Sunday where he was cleared, but Mohammed bin Hammam and Jack Warner were both (inaudible) suspended over allegations of payments to Caribbean football officials who might have voted for bin Hammam if he was able to stand in the presidency election itself.

Here's the Sun newspaper from the UK today, "Crisis. Wad Crisis?" wad of money which is the photo underneath. The Mirror has the same photo with a slightly different headline "Bung to Rights" a rather mocking headline for just going on this whole theme, Kristie, of the fact that with so much -- so many allegations going around Sepp Blatter was cleared of having any connection with these allegations. Mohammed bin Hammam, Jack Warner both deny the claims.

But nonetheless, these are allegations that FIFA has seemed very reluctant to address at all. And in fact, on top of the English Football Association calling for a suspension of the vote on Wednesday. The Scottish Football Association we understand, initial reports that they might be joining the English FA and also appealing to other football associations to vote against the FIFA presidency vote going ahead.

STOUT: And Alex, all the controversy off the pitch was overshadowed -- overshadows some crucial action on the pitch hasn't it?

THOMAS: Yeah, Kristie, because less than 48 hours after the Champion's League final there's a match that was worth almost as much money taking place at the same Wembley Stadium. Instead of mighty Barcelona against Manchester United, it was Swansea versus Reading, two teams from the division below England's top tier. It's a so-called $19 million match, or almost $150 million. And Swansea was 3-nil at the half-time before Reading fight back. Eventually the (inaudible) went through 4-2, though. And that means they'll join QPR and Norwich as the other teams promoted from that division up into the Premier League and enjoying those riches.

And of course along with Manchester United for these small teams who have been playing giants like Manchester United it was celebrating their Premier League triumph on Monday with an open top bus parade. Although one sour note for them, Kristie, is that their midfielder Paul Scoles -- having seen the pictures there, the number 19 on the bus by the way ripped his 19 English championships. They've overtaken their close rivals Liverpool.

One sour note though, 36-year-old midfielder Paul Scoles has announced his retirement. He'll join United's coaching staff for next season.

But (inaudible) forget today, of course, will be FIFA saga. The big sports story today here on CNN, Kristie.

STOUT: All right. Alex Thomas there live from London. Thank you very much indeed.

Now many people in Europe are scared of salads right now. Officials say that some raw vegetables have been linked to a deadly E. coli outbreak. And we'll tell you what to watch out for.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now sports drinks from Taiwan have been pulled off shelves here in Hong Kong. A similar action has also been taken in mainland China and the Philippines. (inaudible) says that some drinks may have been contaminated with DEHP. Now the chemical is considered especially harmful to young boys, because it can impact hormone levels. Now there have been no reports of illness.

Now the same cannot be said for Europe's produce problem. An E. coli outbreak has been blamed for 15 deaths. And Russia has banned vegetable imports from Germany and Spain. Health officials say that the bacteria may be linked to some raw vegetables shipped from Spain. Dan Rivers has more.


DAN RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It may seem strange that something as innocuous as a cucumber has been responsible for so many people getting sick, but the World Health Organization say that up to 1,000 people are now thought to have contracted this rare form of E. coli from organic cucumbers from the south of Spain. But they are emphasizing that the vast majority of organic vegetables used in salads are fine. There's no problem at all, including the ones on this store.

What they are saying is in this particular case they suspect that the producer probably used cow manure as a fertilizer, that the fertilizer then wasn't cleaned properly off the vegetables and hence so many people have got sick.

As a result of this rare form of E. coli, 0104, that's never been seen in Europe before it was first identified in Korea in 2005. It clearly will concern consumers on stores like this here in London. Here's what the owner of this store had to say.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a concern, because with the use of manures, there is potential waste, but it is a small risk on the cucumber salad potentially (inaudible) washed, half washed, that's whether it's conveyed.

RIVERS: Well, the World Health Organization says that this outbreak of E. coli may now have spread outside of Germany to countries including the UK, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Denmark all traced back to just a couple of producers in southern Spain.

Their main advice is to wash vegetables before they're eaten in salads. And they're saying it may take a couple of weeks before they can determine how far this has spread.

Dan Rivers, CNN, London.


STOUT: Now if you've got them, don't smoke them. Not today, because Tuesday is World No Tobacco Day. 170 countries have agreed to try and help people stop smoking. And in New York is now a little harder to light up in public places like parks and beaches, even the famous Time's Square will be smoke free. Now violators could be fined $50.

We all know that smoking is bad for your health, but what about your mobile phone? Now there's been plenty of back and forth about the effects of mobile phone radiation, particularly on the brain. And in just a few hours we are expecting a key report from the World Health Organization on whether they should be classified as a cancer risk. As our doctor Sanjay Gupta found out, the warnings have been around for a while.


SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: The manufacturers actually tell people in the instruction manual, which I'd never read, to put -- not to put the cellphone against your ear.

Yeah, you know, that was pretty surprising to us as well. We came upon that particular fact a little bit into the investigation. We've been talking to the safety experts, talking to people who are dealing with, you know, cell phone safety quite a bit. And then when you read the actually insert that people never read, frankly, that comes with the phone it does say exactly that. There's a -- the Blackberry, for example, warns to keep your phone at least .98 inches away from the body when transmitting. And the iPhone 4 gives a similar warning as well. It's tough to do, obviously.

What is interesting here, Anderson, if you dig a little bit deeper into this, what you find is that there is a certain amount of radiation that is considered the FCC limit. But that is -- that limit is sort of dictated by having the phone about an inch away from your head. If you move it closer to your head they say they can no longer guarantee that you're phone isn't emitting more radiation than the FCC limit, which is just stunning to me. So all those limits are only based on literally having your phone a certain distance away from your head.


STOUT: So according to Dr. Gupta, a wired ear piece is the best way to limit your exposure to any cell phone radiation.

Now an Australian weather crew was tracking a storm when the storm found them. And coming up next on NEWS STREAM, we get up close and personal with the trio of water spouts on the sea.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now Britain's Prince William and his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, had a global audience for their April wedding. And next month they are stepping out into the world. They're heading to Canada and the U.S. on their first royal tour as newlyweds.

Our Max Foster is at historic St. James Palace in London with all the details.


MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Prince William has been to Canada before, and he was a huge hit, but the Duchess hasn't been to Canada nor the United States.

At the end of June, they'll be picked up in the UK by the Canadian Air Force and then flown to Ottawa. From there they'll travel through Quebec, Prince Edward Island, the northern Territories and onto Calgary where the Duchess's grandfather trained bomber pilots during the Second World War.

A series of engagements has been arranged with allows them to reflect on Canada's history, but also to look to the future as the next generation of royals. So expect to see them meeting lots of young people.

The final leg of the journey has been organized with the British government and takes them to Los Angeles where they'll be promoting British interests to the United States.

A source here at St. James' Palace has told me this is a working visit, not an opportunity to meet celebrities, although not quite sure how they're going to avoid them.

More details will be released in June.

Max Foster, CNN, St. James' Palace, London.


STOUT: Off the coast of Australia it was an awesome display of Poseidon's might. Our affiliate 7 Network was in the air as massive water funnels ripped through the sea. And Paul Caddick (ph) describes it for us.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our helicopter crew was off the central coast chasing the weather when it found them in spectacular fashion, a water spout churning through the ocean, heading for land -- majestic and a monster from the cloud down to the water, it's around 600 meters, a funnel of water vapor from the clouds above brought down to the surface by rapidly rotating winds moving at more than 100 kilometers an hour sweeping the sea water around it into the air.

And it wasn't alone, a glance further north revealed two more created from the same system thriving in the wet and wild conditions just ripe for water spouts. Take the warm ocean water, cold air from the changing season, add those storms and twisting winds.

We tracked it for more than 20 minutes as it closed in on the coast, that's Teregal (ph) on the right, Avoca Beach on the left where people watched in awe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At first, it looks like you think (EXPLETIVE DELETED) the worlds going to end, but you know it was cool.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only thing I was worried about was whether it was - - how those tornadoes we've seen recently. But it looked pretty impressive. I wouldn't have liked to have been in a boat out there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Vince and Tony Bagnato (ph) were on a boat out there. Their fishing trawler battling much rougher than forecast seas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was pretty amazing -- pretty windy and...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A little bit scary too. It was scary.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible) about (inaudible) meters away.

When you see it time like (ph) you think it might come towards you. You don't know what to expect.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They fished off Sydney for more than 20 years and never seen so many.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One, two at the most, but not three.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE; At it neared the coast it lost power and took just seconds to go from potential menace to memory.


STOUT: Incredible sight there. Let's get more on this phenomenon known as water spouts, a trio of them no less, with Mari Ramos. She joins us from the world weather center -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: That's some pretty cool video that we were just looking at there, Kristie. And it's amazing that that helicopter was flying under those conditions to begin with. That's kind of scary as well. You know, because those water spouts can really form anywhere.

We're talking about water spouts. You're really referring to tornadoes that are over the water. And there's two different kinds -- you've got your fair weather ones. They're not as intense. These are going to be less dangerous. They can still cause some damage to your boat. They can form at the base of the cold. And they actually form from the sea up to the clouds. So by the time you see them, they've probably been around for a little while and you just hadn't noticed them.

As opposed to what we saw in that video, that's a tornadic water spout. It develops during thunderstorms, usually severe thunderstorms. And sometimes they have high -- they have high seas like what we saw in the report. There's usually a lot of lightning and sometimes even hail and heavy rain. So there's different kinds.

Go ahead and roll the video of that water spout once again. And that is pretty spectacular when you see that.

Have this actually moved over land we would be calling it a tornado. And they were saying that the estimates, according to that report, winds close to 100 kilometers per hour. That's pretty significant if you consider that.

All of this having to do with this area of low pressure off the east coast of Australia that is expected to stick around at least for the next couple of days. So don't be surprised if you see more stuff like that.

What about stuff like this? Let's roll the next video. Other side of the world. This is Nebraska. This is where they were looking at also some funnel clouds that were forming, smaller tornadoes that were moving through this area. And look at that hail that's coming down. It's hard to tell from this perspective, but just wait for it, you're going to see how large -- size of baseballs -- that's how they're estimating how big that hail was. That's another indication of an intense tornado.

Like I said, this was in the U.S. in Nebraska where again the possibility of severe weather will be with us.

Let's go ahead and come back over to the weather map. Right now we do have here across the central plains, we did earlier I should say, some strong thunderstorms. Now as this continues to move toward the Great Lakes let's go ahead and move the map over. This is going to be the area to watch for the potential for severe weather throughout the day today.

So still not out of the woods here across the U.S. when it comes to the potential for severe weather just keeping plaguing the region.

I want to go ahead and move on and talk to you about Asia. We have an area of low pressure that is suspect, let's go ahead and call it, this time of year is when we begin to see that uptake in tropical cyclones and that's precisely what we have over here, the potential for a new tropical cyclone to form here just north of the Philippines. We'll be watching it. Right now, chances they say are fair.

Let's go ahead and check out your forecast.

Oh, Kristie, we're getting ready for a new shuttle landing. The Space Shuttle Endeavor undocked from the International Space Station just yesterday and getting set for a landing on Wednesday.

Now what we're looking at here, going to be very early in the morning, 6:35 GMT. Expected to be about partly cloudy skies. There's a concern that maybe it might be a little too windy. They're still starting to monitor that a little bit closer throughout the day today. Temperatures shouldn't be a problem as long as rain stays away.

I do want to show you one thing, let's go ahead and go to our Google Earth over here -- I should say to our internet. I wanted to show you if you go to the and you click on space shuttle you can see the track that the orbiter is expected to take. If they de-orbit earlier, this will be the track right over the Yucatan Peninsula and then on to the Kennedy Space Center.

I think I have a couple of seconds to show you the last one. This would be the second track. IT would take it right over Mexico in case they have to delay that landing.

Were you guys able to see that? If not, go to And I'll tweet in just a moment. Back to you.

STOUT: Those are so cool. I'm just looking at it, the return monitor here. I had no idea that that feature was available on the NASA web site. And I can't believe we're almost near the end.

RAMOS: I know.

STOUT: Next to the -- next to final shuttle mission.

RAMOS: I know.

STOUT: Oh my goodness, home stretch. Mari Ramos there. Thank you.

And that is NEWS STREAM, but the news continues at CNN. "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" is next.